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Of all Handel's great oratorios, Israel in Egypt is second only to messiah in drama. It is dominated by massive virtuosic choruses, making it the perfect piece for The Sixteen, acknowledged by audiences and critics alike.
It's not surprising that Israel in Egypt is much-performed. Hailstones and lightning, buzzing flies and leaping frogs, are all brilliantly evoked for choir and orchestra in a series of incisive choruses leading us excitedly through the plagues of Egypt and the crossing of the Red Sea as we follow Moses and the Children of Israel through the story of the Exodus. The epic nature of the story could not be more suited to Handel's genius for story-telling and drama.
This CD is based on the first published edition (1771), omitting five arias and two short choruses.